Day 1) ICELAND AHOY! (50 km/31 mls)
Individual transfer from Keflavik Airport to your accommodation in Reykjavík where you spend the night. We offer your ideas about how you can explore the capital city on your own, about its colours and nuances.
Day 2) REYKJAVIK CITY EXPLORATION & BORGARFJÖRÐUR SAGA VALLEY (245 km/152 mls)
At 09:00 meet your tour guide who shows the group the highlights of Iceland's exciting capital. Then we head west. Borgarfjörður is known as the Saga valley because of its many important historical events. We get a chance to climb the Grábrók volcano crater and get warmed at Deildartunguhver, Europe's most powerful hot spring which produces 180 liters per second of water that is nearly boiling - 97° Celsius. Hraunfossar is a series of waterfalls pouring from beneath a wide lava field. Barnafoss – the Children’s falls, is nearby with its own tragic tale. We spend two nights in Borgarnes, West Iceland. The afternoon includes a lecture about Northern Lights. After dinner, we step into the hotel garden in search of the Northern Lights followed by a hot cup of chocolate or tea.
Day 3) SNÆFELLSNES PENINSULA & FJORD CRUISE (250 km/155 mls)
The Snæfellsnes Peninsula “the peninsula of the snowy mountain“ juts out from Iceland’s west coast, like a long arm with a clenched fist at its tip, and is in many ways a microcosm of the whole island. A rugged mountain chain runs its length. We travel to the charming fishing town of Stykkishólmur for a cruise in the Breiðafjörður fjord. After a light lunch a uniquely Icelandic “treat“ awaits us at Bjarnarhöfn, where they make Hákarl - the fermented shark. Depending on road and weather condtions, we visit the fishing village of Grundarfjörður, a place with an impressive coastline and mountains, lakes and waterfalls behind the village. Jutting out into the bay rises one of the most photographed mountain in Iceland, Mt. Kirkjufell. On the way back to Borgarnes the guide gives you some practical tips of how to photograph the Auroras as part of the Northern Lights Academy program. Naturally, once darkness falls, we are out in the hotel garden to chase the Northern Lights and to soak in the hotel’s outdoor hot tubs.
Day 4) GOLDEN CIRCLE, GEOTHERMAL TASTE & ICELANDIC HORSES (220 km/136 mls)
Today we travel along the Hvalfjörður fjord. The first stop is at an Icelandic wool outlet store, just to see what they do with all those sheep! We continue inland to Þingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. We travel the Golden Circle route and see steam rising from the Geysir geothermal fields as we arrive. There is a variety of hot springs and bubbling pools. The original geyser is now dormant but has been replaced by Strokkur "the Churn" which erupts at 5-10 minute intervals. The chef of the Restaurant Geysir invites you to taste freshly baked hot spring bread served with Icelandic butter, geothermally boiled eggs and herring. It is best served with a small glass of Geysir Schnapps, very cold – nearly freezing. On we travel to Gullfoss, a double waterfall that tumbles 34 meters into the Hvítá river and attracts tourists and travellers in summer and winter. In the afternoon, you learn about the Icelandic horse, its special qualities and history and visit a geothermal greenhouse, before we reach the accommodation in South Iceland. Tonight, step into the darkness and search for the elusive Northern Lights, while best enjoyed from a comfortable hot tub in the garden of the hotel, amidst the peace and stillness of rural Iceland.
Day 5) NATURAL WONDERS OF SOUTH ICELAND & EYJAFJALLAJÖKULL VOLCANO (220 km/136 mls)
Today we travel along the South coast. At the Eyjafjallajökull Information Center we learn about living next to a glacier and an active volcano. Further east we visit one of Iceland's finest folk museums. This museum contains an outstanding collection of farm and domestic artifacts from Iceland's past and several turf-built houses. Nearby is Skógafoss waterfall which is 60 meters high and one of the most impressive waterfalls in the country. In the afternoon we take a stroll on the black lava beach and along bird cliffs at Reynisfjara in South Iceland. We spend 2 nights near Kirkjubæjarklaustur in the Vatnajökull National Park region, located in darkness and ideal for Northern Lights search.
Day 6) SKAFTAFELL NATIONAL PARK & VATNAJÖKULL GLACIER (280 km/174 mls)
Today’s program is all about glaciers, ice and icebergs. We travel to Jökulsárlón, a glacial lagoon filled with floating icebergs, and we explore the extraordinary site and might see seals swimming in arctic waters. You can walk on the black sandy beach where large icebergs get stranded. In the afternoon we visit the tiny turf church at Hof and spend time at Europe’s largest national park, which has Iceland’s highest mountains, an alpine environment, and Europe's largest glacier. In the evening enjoy a film presentation about the Northern Lights as part of the Northern Lights Academy program. Be careful not to go to bed too soon in this remote and quiet location or you may just miss out one more chance of seeing the Northern Lights shimmering and dancing across the night sky.
Optional Ice Cave Tour offered between November 15th and March 15th
Experience a spectacular crystal ice cave in Europe's largest glacier, Vatnajökull. It is like standing under a frozen blue ocean or in a frozen cathedral surrounded by millions of shades of blue.
Deep under Iceland's massive Vatnajökull glacier, beautiful caves of ice are formed by rivers of melt water during the summer time. Too dangerous to visit in the spring and summer due to a threat of collapse, cold winter temperatures strengthen the ice and make exploration possible and safe to visit between November 15th and March 15th (subject to change). The tour takes about 2.5 hours in total - about 30-minute drive by 4x4 vehicle from the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and 5-15 minutes hike (one-way). You spend about one hour inside the ice cave. You need good hiking boots, warm clothing that keeps you dry from the dripping water in the ice cave. Minimum age is 10 years old. The ice cave tour can only be booked on day 2 of Northern Lights Exploration tour. You will have to fill in and sign an order form, once done a cancellation is not possible. Ice cave bookings have to be finalised with the guide by dinner time on day 2 of the tour. Bookings afterwards cannot be accommodated due to limited space. The price is ISK 23.000 (about EUR 210) per person; subject to change.
Payment is due with the ice cave tour operator on day 6 in Icelandic Krona – cash only! The ice cave explorers meet their local guide at the glacier lagoon at 14:00 and will be brought back to the hotel after the ice cave tour, while the rest of the group continues the official tour program. The ice cave explorers will miss out on some of the official tour programs, as there is no time for everything, but the stop and visit at the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon are included for all group members.
Day 7) SOUTH SHORE, REYKJAVÍK & BLUE LAGOON (370 km/230 mls)
From Kirkjubæjarklaustur we head across the Eldhraun lava field to the village of Vík, where we make a photo stop. The black lava beach with high bird cliffs and pounding waves is very impressive. Further west we reach the high but narrow Seljalandsfoss waterfall which plunges from the mountain. In the afternoon we return to Reykjavik and have about 2 hour leisure time to explore Iceland's capital on our own, visit museums, do some shopping or simply rest after all this touring. In the evening we get to soak in the famous Blue Lagoon, followed by an
Icelandic dinner at the Northern Light Inn Hotel and followed by one last nocturnal tour to seek more Northern Lights. Around midnight we reach Reykjavík for one last night.
Day 8) REYKJAVÍK DEPARTURE
Homeward bound! (50 km/31 mls)
Individual transfer by Flybus airport shuttle from your accommodation in Reykjavík to Keflavík Airport. Leave Iceland with a bag full of memories.
Daily driving: Total mileage without airport transfer is about 1.585 km (983 miles)